Friday, June 29, 2018

Blender Motorcycle Concept Project....Part One

This week with working on several different projects at once I find time once again to also work on a new project in Blender 3D.  I work in the shop and have to either let things dry or cure or wait for parts so to fill the time I play around with new ideas in Blender.  So a new motorcycle is the course of action for this project.

  I have been wanting to create a motorcycle for some time but just never set out to making it simply because I did not slug my way through figuring out how to make a motorcycle tire.  They are a bit different of course than a regular car tire so I have waited and finally forced myself to the task this week.  This is what I have come up with so far.

I first started with the tire and came up with the design that you see in the image above.  I liked it so that was that.  At least it does not look like a car tire and the tread pattern is believable for the project.  Along with this next came the wheel and I went with 40 spokes instead of a solid wheel design.  This image was the first go around as you will see in the following images in this post.  Close but not quite right was the shape of the spokes at this point.  So more work was needed to get things right.

I refined the spokes in this image but like most Blender models a lot can be hidden and so the changes to the spokes only I know about and you would really have to dig into the actual model to see what I corrected at this point.  In the first image the spokes at the center hub stuck out to far so I corrected this but after adding the disc brake and the drive belt hub the changes were hidden.  At least I know that they are correct so I can be happy with that. 

I had to do some research online to see how an actual axle is mounted to a motorcycle frame.  The blue part at the axle is correct as it makes sense to be able to adjust the rear axle rearward to tighten up the drive belt for the bike.  I also put in the mounting for the disc brake caliper along with a hydraulic line that runs along the upper portion of the right side frame.  Little things like this make the model stand out just a bit more.

I thought I would go with a belt drive for the Blender cycle and so I modeled what you see in the image above.  Not sure yet about the placement of the belt as it goes around the pivot point on the frame.  I will have to do a little more research on that one as my real motorcycle that I ride is a shaft drive so I'm not really sure how that part of the assembly works here.  

Lastly I got the shocks modeled and they turned out very well also for this project.  Again with a lot of modeling that I do I change around things as I go and looking at what I have created this far I can see changes coming up.  I thought I might make this setup a mono-shock layout instead of dual shocks.  Again something to think about.  Also maybe a three wheeler instead of a two wheeler.  No matter what I like the progress I have made with the start of the Blender model.  Nice detail already with the rear end at least.  

I will have to figure out if this will be a concept bike that looks like a normal motorcycle or not.  I did a model of a futuristic looking motorcycle years  and years ago (shown above) so I thought I might go back to this idea and redo the model of this design. As you can see my modeling skills have improved greatly since this old design was created around 10 years ago.  An update would be in order for sure and would look way better than my earlier work.  In the meantime this is a good start for this model and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon while I wait for varnish to dry in my workshop. I'll keep you posted on my progress as this Blender bike project moves forward. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Minature Bowling Alley Part 2

A couple of weeks have passed so I thought I'd better get this post out while I can about the miniature bowling alley for kids that I am working on.  No real major setbacks have occurred so progress is still moving right along on the project.

Here once again is the computer image of the design.  I am not certain that I will paint the toy as you see here yet but that is a simple thing concerning this project so far. 

 Lots of work have already gone into the project as you can see by this photo and others to follow.  The wording for the "Little League Bowling" alley I created using my Tooli plotter what has a low powered laser attachment.  It was perfect for this job and only took around 13 minutes to do one side of the alley shown above.  The lettering will stand out even more once I put a few coats of varnish on it.

I did my homework on the computer to get the pins for the alley spaced out correctly with markings on the alley.  The pins will be painted white with the usual red ring around the neck.   

I even have lane markers on the front of the lane like a real bowling alley.  Again the laser engraver work perfectly for this. 

Here you can see the bowling alley laid out just to get an idea as to how big it is once you are playing with it.  It is four feet long and a little over 11 inches wide.  I am glad that I decided to make it foldable as the alley being this large will be fun to play with but not so much fun to store when it is not being used. 

Here the 3D printed double hinge that makes up the folding mechanism for the alley is mount into it unfolded position. All looked good at this point and went together as planned. 

Here I was checking the double hinge in it's folded position.  I had not yet assembled the sides of the bowling alley at this point but I was still able to do some testing with the new hinge just the same. 

To help set up the pins in their correct locations I laser engraved circles on the alley deck to make things a lot easier when it comes time to reset everything for the next player. 

Here the alley is really starting to take shape.  I used pocket holes and screws to hold the framework on to the alley lane and screws, nuts and bolts to hold the double hinge in place. All of the assembly lined up very well so I am happy with how things are going at this point. I will plug the holes for the pocket screws and then get into sanding everything smooth for the final push on the project. 

 After working with the double hinge a bit I inspected it to make sure everything was ok.  The center section of the hinge that you see in the photo is a wooden replacement part that was needed  to beef up the assembly due to cracks that had developed in the 3D printed part I originally had made for the alley. To remake a new 3D printed part would have taken five and a half hours to print.  I decided to make the new part out of wood which I think will do just as  well if not better and only took be around 20 minutes to make in the workshop. 

With the bowling alley folded up it now can hold the ball and pins when not it use and is only two feet long and seven and a half inches tall.  A much easier package to stow away when not being used. I still have to get the pins painted and stripped and sand the alley down nice and smooth and figure out what kind of paint scheme I want to do on it yet.  At least I am nearing the end of this project and look forward to handing it over to my grandson some time in the future.  I'll put out another post once I put the finishing touches on this project. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Test Becomes A Project!

With all that I have going on here at the workshop I still get a good surprise once in a while. This was the case this  morning while working on a paint test project that I had set up weeks and weeks ago.  I originally wanted to test out a painting idea that I had with a simple blank part.  I wanted to do a multicolored part and then lay down several coats of clear to finish it off.  Something I had not done before.

I decided on something simple like a "Smiley" face.  The blank was made with a twelve inch diameter plywood base to start. Then a Styrofoam blank disk the same size was attached to it.  The foam was shaped and sanded into the rounded shape that you see in the photo above.  When this was completed several layers of fiberglass was applied to the assembly. 

 When the fiberglass had been cured and smoothed out properly I painted the assembly gloss white.  Then a vinyl decal was applied to create the Smiley face and a layer of gloss red was applied and I crossed my fingers. 

Here's how the test part turned out this morning.  I carefully removed the vinyl decal that I had laid down on the white paint and sure enough there was "Smiley"!  It turned out perfectly.  The gloss on the sign is so good that you can see me in the lower portion of the face and the window reflections in the upper portions.

The shape of the Smiley sign turned out much better than I had hoped for with this test now turned finished project. 

So now I have another new display to hang either on my workshop wall or some other place in my home.  That's the really good news.  I want to try to make another test part as I do not plan on laying down any more paint onto to this nice little guy.  The new test part can wait for another day as I have other projects that need my attention at the moment but as I said from the start this test part gave me a nice surprise this morning and that is always a happy thing to happen in the workshop.  Have a good day in your workshop and maybe you'll get a nice surprise as well.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Do It Yourself Engineering!

A couple of days ago I received in the mail a catalog that I had gotten several times over the past couple of years.  The catalog "The Great Courses" offers courses on everything from learning how to take better photos to becoming an expert in astronomy.  I thumbed through this catalog once again and found a course that peaked my interest and so I ordered it.  The course being "Do It Yourself Engineering".  Here is the course description word for word from the catalog.

Forget about fixing the faucet or building a bookself. You can confidently tackle a working suspension bridge, airplane, helicopter, catapult, clock, and other technological wonders
in your own home workshop. Taught by Professor Stephen Ressler of West Point, this course conducts you through 17 thrilling engineering projects that you can build at home.... from a suspension bridge across a small stream to a low altitude sounding rocket. Dr. Ressler walks you through the entire process, from design,  to build to test, showing you how to think like an engineer in approaching any problem.

I did not hesitate to order the course which I downloaded directly to my computer. I could have ordered a DVD instead but this works fine for me.  In the catalog the regular price for this course is listed at $269.95 for the DVD and $234.95 for the video download.  The great news is that this course and a lot of other courses are on sale until June 28th.  The Do It Yourself Engineering course dropped to $29.95 for the video download!  I could not resist.  I started watching the course lessons and they are very well presented and interesting as well. 

Here are the lecture titles.

1. Why DIY Engineering?                                     13. This is rocket science
2. Exploring the science of structure                     14. Build a rocket
3. Design and build a cardboard tower                  15. Make an electric launch controller
4. Bridging with beams                                          16. Let's do launch!
5. Make a suspension bridge                                 17. A tale of three catapults
6. Design a concrete sailboat                                 18. Build a ballista, Onager, and Trebuchet
7. Set Sail                                                               19. Design a Hydaulic Arm
8. Make a Radi0-controlled blimp                          20. Make a water turbine
9. Exploring Aerodynamics                                    21. Design a gear train
10. Build a model airplane                                      22. Make a mechanical clock
11. Take flight!                                                        23. Design a motor powered crane
12. Build a model helicopter                                   24. Creative design: A tribute to Rube Goldberg

To check out this course and many others you can go on line at  There you will find many more courses that may also peak your interest as well.  To get the sale price on this course or others that are on sale enter priority code 158534.  This is what was on my catalog.  Once I did this the price on the checkout changed to reflect the sale price.  As I said earlier the sale will end on June 28th so don't wait to long or you may miss this great course.